AMS Elections

Two teams — alike in their colour schemes, but not in their plans for Queen’s — are asking students to vote them in as the 2016-17 AMS executive.

Despite their similar palette, navys and pale blues, the platforms of Team CSG and Team LWT diverge on several key issues facing students and the Alma Mater Society as a whole.


Get up-to-date election coverage here.

Team Comparison

Non-Academic Discipline (NAD)

LWT:

  • The team sees the issue as part of broader pattern of university defending against “reputational risk”
  • The team aims to protect traditions while “mitigating perceived risks whenever possible”

In their words:

Lively said they recognize that, if elected, there will be a new system they’re going to have to work within and adapt to.

“There’s not going to be much scope for making substantial changes, but we think it’s really a part of a bigger issue of the university really going after this perceived reputational risk,” he said.

The Technical Review portion of the team’s platform states that the team “stands firmly with Queen’s students in acknowledging the need to protect our traditions from perceived risk, while ensuring that we mitigate perceived risks whenever possible.”

CSG:

  • The AMS has “dropped the ball” on NAD
  • The NAD system requires strong leadership and must be preserved

In their words:

Greg Radisic said that he’s seen the forefront of the NAD debate as ResSoc president.

“Students come in here angry,” he said. “They sit down with their peer, and it is explained to them from a completely neutral level, it doesn’t feel like the university is trying to punish you. It feels like the community is concerned for you.”

For Radisic, this resulted in collaborative solutions to all but the very worst offenses — which, as a system, CSG has been adamant on preserving, and believes has been lacking this past year.


Restructuring of the Commission of Internal Affairs (CIA)

LWT:

  • LWT agrees with the principle of restructuring
  • The team says it will promote growth among AMS clubs

In their words:

Thompson said that, as a team, LWT agrees with the principle of the restructuring of the Commission of Internal Affairs.

“We think that it’s really important that assembly and the elections team are within arms length of the executive, because it allows them to function a little more autonomously, which is important,” she said.

“It is our hope that [the restructuring] will allow clubs to grow even more and be more comfortable with the AMS.”

Lively said the addition of the Assistant Clubs Manager and the extension of the Clubs Manager’s hours to accommodate the growth of clubs were both good decisions.

“We think that the executive is moving in the right direction,” he said.

CSG:

  • The restructuring was too rushed
  • Moving the Judicial Affairs Office (JAO) under the Vice President of University Affairs’ (VPUA) sent the wrong message

In their words:

Sarah Anderson said the team is “very open to change in the AMS if something needs to be restructured to make it more efficient or better.”

However, they don’t believe there’s been an appropriate amount of consultation.

“We feel it is way too rushed,” she said.

“To make this restructuring happen before we know what the future of NAM will be is truly a severe mistake on the AMS’ part, if the Assembly approves it.”

The team especially believes that moving the Judicial Affairs Office (JAO) under the Vice President of University Affairs’ (VPUA) portfolio is a serious problem.

Doing so “[sends] a direct message to the administration that we no longer care about NAD, and that is fundamentally flawed,” Anderson said.


Sexual Assault Policy

LWT:

  • Sexual assault must be dealt with swiftly
  • The team is in agreement with plans of the Sexual Assault Prevention Working Group

In their words:

Speaking for Team LWT, Thompson said sexual assault prevention is an issue that needs to be addressed swiftly and correctly the first time.

“We are fully on board with the document that was put forward by the Sexual Assault Prevention working group.”

Thompson said she and Team LWT are dedicated to working with the University to make sure that the outlined recommendations are implemented quickly and correctly.

“The implementation of a Sexual Assault Centre, for example, is a great idea, but it needs to be done properly so that it’s not detrimental to sexual assault survivors.”

CSG:

  • We must listen to the data and consult with students before taking action

In their words:

“This isn’t something where I can prescribe recommendations … We must listen to the data, and importantly, we must listen to the stories of survivors,” Zarzour said.

“When we were reaching out and consulting with people on campus, the biggest place that the AMS has lacked this year is anything associated with sexual assault,” Radisic said.

“I really do feel like that’s an obligation we have, to see that through.”


Student Apathy and Engagement

LWT:

  • The AMS needs to consider the barriers put up for those looking to get involved
  • LWT will establish an open door policy and bi-weekly meetings with faculty societies

In their words:

Thompson said one of the barriers to her involvement was the intimidation of university academics and simply not knowing what the AMS was.

“[In] first year, I was very uninvolved. I kind of just lived on my floor, hung out with my floormates, went to class and didn’t know what the AMS was at all,” she said.

Walker said the AMS needs to make sure it’s being inclusive.

“We need to recognize that some people aren’t [involved] and include them into the collective and make sure they’re informed [about] the election or bigger university issues.”

CSG:

  • Not everyone will care about every issue, but everyone cares about something
  • It’s impossible to care about things that you don’t know are happening, or don’t fully understand, so educating students on decisions made is critical
  • To combat apathy, the team will revive the “State of the AMS videos” and hold open office hours

In their words:

Combating student apathy was a serious consideration during the creation of their campaign and platform, the team said.

“If you actually do bring students into the conversation and truly engage them, you’ll find out that they might not have an opinion on every issue, but they certainly have an opinion on some,” Anderson said.


Darts and Laurels of the Current AMS

LWT:

  • Darts: Approachability and transparency was neglected by the current executive
  • Laurels: Financial accountability has been a positive campaign over the past year

In their words:

Lively said one of the things he appreciated about this current year’s AMS executive was their focus on financial accountability.

“One of those things was changing the fee regulations so that now in order to get an opt-out fee or an mandatory fee, that needs to go through referendum,” Lively said.

Lively said this year has been a rocky one for the AMS, and that the lack of transparency is a concerning issue.

“Going forward, we really want to improve upon and rebuild the trust with students.”

CSG:

  • Darts: The current AMS should have been more transparent
  • Laurels: Data collection and expansion of marketing research have been high points of current executive’s tenure

In their words:

“If you mess up, you just have to be proactive and tell the students,” Anderson said, in reference to the nullified fall referendum.

“When you delay telling them, even if you’re being truthful in what you’re telling them, it still looks like you’re hiding something because it took you so long.”

Team CSG praised some of the initiatives taken on by the current executive, including their collection of data and the expansion of the marketing research office.

However, they said direct and proactive communication was missing, which they would address directly if elected.


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